'My work has a lot to do with Iranian culture on the verge of being absurd. It can be described as an all you can eat buffet. There is this famous Iranian wedding anecdote once dinner is served there's a sudden rush for the dinner table. You might get one chance, so you put the appetiser, main dish and dessert on the same plate, just to make sure you get it all. Once you have your kebab and rice, on top of that, you'll slap on some red Jello-o! I try to reflect that sort of attitude visually'.
(The artist quoted in "An Artified World: Interview with Jrme Sans", in R. Janssen, the Third Line, Perrotin & T. Ropac (eds.), Farhad Moshiri, Brussels 2010, p. 18).
Farhad Moshiri's art is filled with conceptual dualities. His works are technically superlative and conceptually brilliant, often examining consumerism, popular culture, contemporary social issues and Iranian cultural norms. He is celebrated internationally for his paintings of jars and historical artefacts on which he superimposes Farsi calligraphy. Sweet Dreams is quintessential as Moshiri creates an archetypal Pop work, with an underlying provocative criticism on materialism while it draws inspiration from Iranian culture and society.
The painted elements at the foreground of the composition - the curtains, the canopy and the bed itself - give the work a minimalist elegance and become a metaphor for the 'appetiser' as Moshiri alludes to in his analogy of an all-you- can-eat buffet. The second layer of the composition, like the 'main dish' in that buffet, is the silhouette of the serial killer, the bed and the sleeper. The 'dessert' would be the acrylic cakes - the literal icing on the cake. His luscious acrylic cakes, that are painstakingly piped in multi-layered bursts of thick and creamy colours, took inspiration from the palatial confections coming from Tehran bakeries, the Baroque excess of Iranian middle class weddings and the plaster-moulding that ornates buildings in the city. This material, too, is a tool to provide socio-political commentary on the changes taking place in contemporary societies.
Moshiri's Sweet Dreams is a striking example of a work that brings together all of Moshiri's favoured media and techniques. This work represents the nouveau riche experiences of excess and is a cheeky and ironic work portraying the absurdity of the society. Moshiri uses humour and cynicism as he depicts a scene where a serial killer attacks a man in his sleep, when he is most vulnerable. In this way, the provocative imagery in Moshiri's work plays on the psyche and feeling of vulnerability of the nouveau riche society. As in most of his works, Moshiri is equally critical and humorous and Sweet Dreams is undeniably a collector's piece.